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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 18, 2009

Island dumping ground decried

Maori will not be placated by parks or money when it comes to the dumping of waste on waahi tapu, says the director of a trust opposing a wastecare company's plans to drop waste on Puketutu Island in the Manukau Harbour.

The Auckland Regional Council and the Manukau City Council are considering plans by Watercare Services to dump 4.4 million cubic metres of Auckland's treated sewage on the island, otherwise known as Te Motu a Hiaroa, over the next 35 years.

Carmen Kirkwood, of the Huakina Development Trust, says talk of a sewage tax for local iwi, and converting parts of the island into public parks does not wash.

“It’s disgusting and when you consider how much mana we put on our islands to keep them free of the rats and the possums in the Hauraki, the only island of any significant size, not to mention it’s a waahi tapu, in totality, they want to dump the tiko of Auckland into it,” Mrs Kirkwood says.

Hearings on the project began last Monday, and is expected to last another two weeks


National Maori organisations have jumped on board a major Supreme Court case on water rights, putting them at odds with South Island iwi Ngai Tahu.

The court last year said major power generators and irrigation companies could make submissions on a case between Ngai Tahu Property, Central Plains Water and Canterbury Regional Council on the rules for water allocation.

In recent weeks Waikaremoana claimant Vern Winitana, the New Zealand Maori Council and most recently the Federation of Maori Authorities have also been given intervenor status.

FOMA chairperson Tem Hall says his organisation is concerned that treating applications on a first come, first serve basis will leave Maori high and dry.

“Often the Maori land is underdeveloped. That is probably going to require more water in the future and you lose that opportunity because of regulation put in place that doesn’t acknowledge the long term sustainable owner which is inter-generational as opposed to a short term owner which is probably going to sell the land and the assets and the rights that go with it,” Mr Hall says.

In its application to intervene, the Maori Council compared the competition for water rights with the fishing industry in the early 1980s, when companies scrambled to establish catch histories that entitled them to property rights or compensation when the quota management system was introduced.


A digital literacy resource showing success for Maori has been recognised for an industry award in the United States.

The programme, called Comprehension Strategies Instruction, is from Wellington based South Pacific Press and was piloted at several schools in New Zealand last year including Miramar South School in Wellington.

Neale Pitches, the chief executive of South Pacific Press, says Maori student's skills in literacy and comprehension rose markedly.

“At the beginning of the year, half of the students were sitting in the lowest quartile for New Zealand in comprehension, 25 percent in the second lowest quartile, and 25 percent in the top two quartiles. By the end of the year there were no students left in the lowest quartile and there were no students left in the second lowest quartile,” Mr Pitches says.

The Association of Educational Publishers Distinguished Achievement Awards winners will be announced at the National Press Club, Washington DC, on 12 June 2009


Greens Maori affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei is predicting the Mt Albert by-election will be a close two horse race between Labour and her party.

Ms Turei, who has been campaigning in the electorate says Maori in particular are welcoming the Green's perspective and National's Melissa Lee did the Green's a huge favour with her anti-South Auckland comments which were taken as racist.

“It’s not going to sit well with Mt Albert people. Mt Albert is a really diverse electorate It does have a strong ethnic and migrant population, strong Maori population, strong urban young liberal population so I you’ve got to be a lot more careful than she has been. She’s much too new to take on this sort of political role,” Ms Turei says.

She says when poll results come out people will realise how close the race is between Labour’s David Shearer and Greens’ co-leader Richard Norman.


Labour list MP Shane Jones has dismissed criticism by Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia who left the debating chamber on Friday in disgust at what she called Labour's stalling tactics against legislation paving the way for a restructuring of Auckland governance.

Shane Jones has defended his party's strategy, that opposed the legislation which covers $28 billion worth of assts that affect over a million people.

“We did try to bring amendments to the House to improve Maori representation. Tariana was I think pathetic in complaining that we were filibustering when she never put forward one single amendment herself. That’s what you have to do in this game. You’ve got to try to improve the legislation. But anyway, we didn’t have the numbers and the Maori Party ended up supporting the government,” Mr Jones says.

The succession of amendments which were eventually defeated, were to make the point that the Government can't use Parliament for its narrow political purposes.


Maori King Tuheitia helped mark the anniversary of his grandfather King Koroki this morning in Huntly with a memorial breakfast for the Fifth Maori King at his birthplace Waahi Pa.

Carmen Kirkwood, the author of Koroki My King, says King Koroki's legacy of mana and manaakitanga lived on in his whanau and in those who remembered him.

“Our people loved him to the core and the legacy he left behind is we were to work with each other, love one another and to be there for each other. He had some wonderful sayings: ‘No matter who comes to the door, welcome them, no matter how little you have in the cupboard, put it on the table for your manuhiri,'” Mrs Kirkwood says.


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